PFAS MDL Bellwether Looms and Personal Injury Trials Will Follow

May 16, 2023 | Environmental, PFAS, Toxic Tort

We have previously provided numerous updates on key developments out of the AFFF MDL in South Carolina, including the first PFAS MDL bellwether case set for trial on June 5, 2023. In that case, the City of Stuart, Florida will present its case that it should be awarded over $100 million to pay for past, present and future testing, remediation an technological steps taken to remove certain PFAS from the city’s drinking water. Last fall, the Judge overseeing the MDL indicated that the parties would need to begin considering the next phase of case types on the docket once the first water pollution case is resolved – personal injury cases. The cases will address whether PFAS-containing AFFF was responsible for plaintiffs’ alleged personal injuries.

On May 5, 2023, presiding Judge Gergel issued an Order in which he ordered the parties to select cases involving an Air Force base and a Navy facility, from which a certain subset of plaintiffs will be chosen (either by agreement of the parties or by order of the Court) to be the first bellwether personal injury trial on the AFFF MDL. The sites from which the bellwether will be chosen are Peterson Air Force Base and/or Colorado Springs Municipal Airport and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and/or the Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster in Pennsylvania. The trial would likely take place in 2024. In addition to narrowing down the sites from which a bellwether will be chosen, the Court also made it clear that any bellwether trial would be required to have a plaintiff with either kidney cancer, testicular cancer, hyperthyroidism, or ulcerative colitis. Further, the plaintiff “…must allege exposure to PFAS from an AFFF source in their drinking water and may not allege PFAS exposure from direct exposure to AFFF.” The parties must have a list of proposed plaintiffs to the Court by July 28, 2023, from which one plaintiff will be chosen as the bellwether PFAS MDL personal injury plaintiff by August 11, 2023.

CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.

Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact the Chair of our PFAS Team: John Gardella.


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